This morning I had to make a quick stop at the grocery store to pick up some supplies for church, and as I was checking out, I asked the cashier, “How’s life was going for ya?” He responded with, “I’m just hoping to just get across the finish line.” I wasn't quite sure what he meant, because he didn’t look like a runner, and we were standing in a grocery store - not on a racetrack. But I didn’t want to assume anything based on his appearance, so I went ahead and asked if he had a race coming up. He said, “Nope. Just trying to make it through this rat race we call life.”
As I walked out to my car, I couldn’t help but think about his description of life as a “rat race.” I guess in some ways life could be described that way, but for Children of God, the “race” we’re on is a spiritual one - designed to strengthen us as we move forward towards eternity with our Father.
Hebrews 12:1 describes it like this: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”
This passage points out two very critical truths for us: first, our spiritual life is like a race. That means we need to keep our minds in “race mode” - we have to stay focused on the finish line and persevere through the twists and turns of the course. In addition to that, this verse reminds us that we need to strip away all the stuff that will slow us down. In other words, we need to run light.
Think of it this way, if you were going to run a 10K, would you choose to do so wearing a 50 pound backpack? Probably not. Actually, we would probably all want to wear as little as possible - choosing lightweight shoes, shorts, and shirts. And that's because we all understand that the lighter we are, the easier it will be to run.
The same is true of our spiritual lives. As we run this race God's given us, we need to regularly ask ourselves if the different things in our lives are “weights” or “wings”. Are our activities, relationships, thoughts and pursuits things that speed us on our way, or slow us down? Are they increasing our spiritual appetite, or diminishing it? If we find that there are things that are slowing us down, then we need to throw those things off, because nothing should slow us down in our spiritual race.
So today let's ask God to help us take an honest look at our lives and identify the things that are slowing us down in our relationship with Him. As He reveals those things to us, let's strip those things off and lay them at His feet, asking Him to help us persevere in running fully and completely for Him.